I love shooting for Alternative Press magazine. I’ve gotten to work with some great up-and-coming acts while on assignment for them, and I’ve always been appreciative of the freedom that Creative Director Christopher Benton has given in letting me explore some different takes on many of these artists. Even though I spend a lot of my time these days working for agencies and corporate clients on more commercial fare, shooting for AP is appealing to me because of the energy and excitement that I get from working with these bands – something raw that stirs up the remnants of the music obsessed geek in me who spent a lot of his youth hanging out in dirty basements at house shows and road-tripping all over the northeast to see bands who never seemed to make it to Buffalo.
The most recent story I shot for AP was about Phil Bozeman, the vocalist for Tennessee-based deathcore band Whitechapel. While his band may put forth an aggressive front, the crux of this article was a little more vulnerable in nature as it involved Phil opening up for the first time about some serious personal and health problems that had been affecting him for several months and the help he sought to remedy them. Photographically, the goal was to put the focus squarely on the usually press shy Phil in a direct and subtly confrontational way, so the portraits I put together for the interview had to be stripped down and simple – devoid of the artifice and genre tropes that can become present in photographing a really heavy and dark band. Given the subject matter, Phil was on board for this approach and I was able to catch up with the band when their tour came through Buffalo. You normally don’t get a lot of time when you’re photographing a singer who’s got to perform just a few hours later, but my studio is right in the heart of the city’s theatre district and within a five-minute walk of many of the area’s best venues (including where Whitechapel was playing that night), so it was easy to work out the logistics with Phil and his tour manager and maximize the time that me and my crew got to spend with him working on this series .
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